Lessen how to install a new light and switch with a metal raceway.


If you need a new receptacle or a new light and switch, the usual procedure is to run cable inside walls. That is a complicated, messy job. Cutting and patching walls takes much more time than the wiring. Wall-mounted raceway wiring eliminates that trouble and is available in plastic or metal. Follow along with our steps below to see how it's done.

Planning the Job

Metal raceway can be painted. Have a salesperson help you assemble all the raceway parts you need: a starter box, channel, clips, cover plates, and elbows if you need to turn a corner. You need black, white, and green wire for the length of your run. Use 14-gauge wire for a 15-amp circuit and 12-gauge for a 20-amp circuit.

What You Need

  • Drill
  • Screwdriver
  • Level
  • Rubber mallet
  • Strippers
  • Side cutters
  • Hacksaw
  • Lineman's pliers
  • Raceway components
  • Wire nuts
  • Electrician's tape
  • Screws

Step 1: Install Raceway Starter Box


Turn off the power and test to make sure it is off. Take the cover off an outlet and pull out the receptacle. Screw a raceway starter box, which has a large opening in the back, over the box in the wall.

Step 2: Align and Measure Channel


Position a flat elbow onto the end of the raceway channel and hold it over a stud. Have someone help you hold the channel in place, and level it. Mark where to cut the channel — when installed the channel extends into the box by about 3/8 inch. Cut the channel with a hacksaw.

Step 3: Attach Channel Clips


Position the channel temporarily in place. Level it and trace along it. Find the studs with a stud finder and drill pilot holes into them for screws that hold the channel clips in place. Attach the clips.

Step 4: Install Channel to Elbow


Reposition the flat elbow. Tap the channel gently with a rubber mallet to snap it into place. Screw the elbow to the wall.

Step 5: Attach Second Channel


Cut a second length of channel, attach it with clips, and tap it into place with a rubber mallet.

Step 6: Fixture Box


Attach a fixture box.

Step 7: Thread Wires


Fish wires through the channel and attach the covers over the elbow.

Step 8: Hang Fixture


Hang the fixture and connect it to the outlet. Connect the wiring at the original receptacle.


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